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Vegas musician owns house at center of Tony Hsieh incident

Updated December 1, 2020 - 3:28 pm

The house in which Tony Hsieh suffered his fatal injuries is linked to the Las Vegas arts community.

Rachael Brown, a longtime and top-ranking Zappos official known to be Hsieh’s girlfriend, is the listed owner of the home in small port town of New London, Conn.

Originally from Connecticut, Brown was recruited to help develop Zappos when the company moved to Las Vegas from San Francisco in 2004. She headed up the company’s first training team when Hsieh relocated to Southern Nevada, and grew to become one of his closest confidants and one of the company’s most influential executives.

Brown reportedly moved with Hsieh to Park City, Utah. For years, she was also well known for her “side gig,” as musicians say, performing as a cellist with Nina Di Gregorio’s Bella Electric Strings ensemble and also David Perrico’s Pop Strings orchestra.

Hsieh died Friday of injuries he suffered in a fire at the house on Nov. 18. He was 46. Brown was reportedly in New London with a group of Hsieh’s friends on the night the fire broke out.

Brown, considered an accomplished musician, has been booked across the country for more than a decade with the Bella lineup. Pop Strings had been headlining weekends for five years at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace pre-COVID. Brown was part of the Vegas Golden Strings lineup that backed Imagine Dragons on “Whatever It Takes” prior to Game 2 of the NHL Final at T-Mobile Arena in May 2018.

Brown has played in the orchestra for Brody Dolyniuk’s rock-symphony shows at the Smith Center. Efforts to reach the former Zappos official and part-time musician for comment have been unsuccessful.

In August, Brown helped organize a musicians’ trip to a condo near Hsieh’s estate in Park City. The sojourn was just two weeks before Hsieh announced he would be stepping down from Zappos and relocating to the ski-resort town. Hsieh arranged for two concert-tour buses for the players (one of which was used by Cher, the other by LeAnn Rimes, among other artists), which allowed all passengers to be socially distant.

Perrico and his wife, singer Lily Arce; keyboardist Otto Ehling; violinist Chandra Meibalane; and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Park all took part in the three-day respite. Park has been a resident of the Hsieh-developed Airstream community in downtown Las Vegas. He had been posting videos from Park City and the surrounding region since Hsieh arrived in August, adn also posted from Connecticut as Hsieh’s group visited New London.

Perrico said there was no agenda his visit to Hsieh’s property in August.

“He loved music, and we were there as guests and just hung out and jammed,” Perrico said Saturday. “We didn’t go up there to talk business. We went up there to get out of the heat, play music, relax and go hiking.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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